This is a very dark story , set in the late 19th century, in rural upstate New York. The beginning is very brutal and very explicit and it is this that will set Elspeth the mother, and Caleb who is still very young, twelve or thirteen, on a quest for vengeance.
Extremely well written for a first novel, it is very atmospheric and hard to forget. The scenes, the dialogue all are so vividly portrayed, what they have seen and what they go through so hard to forget. A boy, who had to grow up quickly and way to soon. A mother, who I really did not like until the end, when she finally figures out what it takes to actually be a mother. A story of guilt and justification. The cover is so perfect, the barrenness, the starkness, perfectly fitting for this novel.
Reminds me a little of Bonnie Jo Campbell and her writing. The comparison to True Grit I can also see but like I said I had a hard time liking and forgiving Elspeth. Not sure that I ever did. A good, solid first novel, brutal in nature, but unforgettable.
ARC from publisher.